How To Get A Better Drive Thru Experience
Start writing a post
food

9 Steps You Can Take To Be A Functional Human In A Drive-Thru

Follow these steps to give both you and the employees a better experience.

166
https://unsplash.com/photos/nu4N3AFZNRU

The drive-thru is really a simple concept, yet thousands suffer every day from its seemingly complicated grip. I work in a drive-thru and witness countless confused customers make their way awkwardly through the drive-thru lanes. But it doesn't have to be this way.

I know people like to blame the employees for bad experiences, which can be true in some cases, but it is not always. The most important thing to remember in a drive-thru to ensure a smooth experience is to listen. Pay attention and listen to the employees because they are there to help you. It's literally their job.

1. Put down your phone.

Tell whoever it is you're talking to that you'll call them back in a few minutes. Or you could just put them on mute while you interact with the employee. In my experience, most issues are caused because the customer is distracted by their phone.

This includes texting. I know you've been in the car driving and waiting to check your texts, but do so for a moment in the parking lot and not while the employees are asking you questions about your order.

End or pause the conversation before you reach the speaker box. When you say, "just a minute," to your phone, it can confuse the employee and make them think you need a minute before ordering.

2. Acknowledge the restaurant employee.

When you pull up to the speaker box, let the employee give their spiel, and then respond right away. Let them know that you heard them so they don't have to wonder if the headset is broken again. And acknowledge them politely, please.

Also, don't interrupt or speak before they give the spiel. Even if it's something simple, like, "Hi, how can I help you?" or elaborate like, "Welcome, it's a fantastic day here, the sun is shining, you are loved, and I'm here to take your order." This introduction gives the employee a chance to reset from the last order, or finish up making drinks or ringing in details. Each order has the potential to be a stressful emotional rollercoaster, so give the employee a minute to give their spiel.

3. Tell your order at a reasonable pace.

Once prompted, give the employee your order. But don't rush through the order. The employee will most likely have to ring in the items while simultaneously making drinks or desserts. They can remember things, but nobody's perfect, so they can also forget items if the information is being fed to them too quickly.

4. Say "thank you."

A simple "thank you" really does go along way. Not only is it polite, it also signifies to the employee that you heard them read back the order and give the total and that you are now going to drive away. One of the most awkward experiences on the employee's end is the end of an order with no "thank you"—of course, right after the customer pulling forward in the middle of the employee talking. Don't be that person.

5. Have your payment ready.

This includes any coupons, rewards cards, or apps that need to be scanned. Take your card or cash out of your wallet before you get to the window. Don't start to dig through your purse once you get to the window.

If you forgot your wallet or really can't find your card, don't just drive away without stopping at the window. This causes confusion for the employees. Stop and let the employee at the window know what's going on. If you plan on coming back, sometimes they can save your order in their system. (But don't expect this, not every restaurant can or will offer this.)

Also, while it is important to have your payment ready, don't roll up to the window holding your card or cash out of your car window. The employee needs time to greet you and read back your order or total before taking your payment, and shoving your card in their face before they prompt you can feel demeaning.

6. Listen to the employee.

When you pull up to the window, the employee will greet you and read back your order to make sure they have all the correct information. It is important to listen and pay attention here because this is where you can fix any mistakes that may have been made on either side. Once you pay and get your receipt, it will be more complicated to fix issues if you notice an error once you get your food. The issues will be resolved in the long run, but you won't have to be given and refunds or pay for additional items separately.

In my experience, this is the most common time for a mistake to happen in the drive-thru. During peak busy times, we take names for each order in the drive-thru so that it is easier to confirm orders quickly. I've seen customers distracted by their phone or something or someone in the car and agree that they are "Melissa with the two #1 meals" only to look at their receipt to say, "Oh wait, I had the #3." "Are you Melissa?" "No, I'm Carrie."

7. Don't forget to ask about condiments.

Most places do not place ketchup, or any condiment, in the bag automatically. I've seen customers say, "no," when I ask if they want condiments, only to be handed the bag, look inside, and ask, "There's no ketchup in here?" If you want ketchup, mayo, salt, or anything, please ask.

A pet peeve of mine is when I ask if a customer wants sauces, to which they respond, "No, just ketchup." I think in this context, ketchup counts as a sauce.

8. Say "thank you," again

Again, a simple "thank you" really does go a long way. It takes minimal effort on your part and helps the employee know there are still nice people out there.

9. Drive forward right away

Please do not unpack your meal right there at the drive-thru window. Pull forward a little bit or go to a parking spot so the next car can get to the window. This minimizes the wait time for all the cars behind you. If everyone in a drive-thru remembers this, all the customers' wait times will but cut.

The key is to listen. Pay attention to the employees and be kind and courteous. Think about the way you would like them to treat you, and treat them the same way. This will give both you and the employees a better experience in the drive-thru.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Six Lies Fed to Your Mind, By Your Mind.

These thoughts will drive you mad.

2639
pexels

Life is hard, and is even harder with a mental illness. Even if you aren't clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, in the hardest times of your life you can probably associate with several of these thoughts. Fear not, everyone else is thinking them too. Maybe we just need a big, loving, group therapy session (or six).

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

A Letter To My Heartbroken Self

It will be okay, eventually.

4926
A Letter To My Heartbroken Self
Pexels

Breakups are hard. There's nothing comparable to the pain of losing someone you thought would be in your life forever. Someone who said all the right things at the right times. Someone who would give you the reassurance you needed, whenever you needed it. And then one day, it just... stops. Something changes. Something makes you feel like you're suddenly not good enough for him, or anyone for that matter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America

For the first time since 1994 the United States will host a world cup (for men's soccer)

6651
2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America
Skylar Meyers

The FIFA World Cup is coming to North American in 2026!

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

An Open Letter to Winter

Before we know it April will arrive.

7931

Dear Winter,

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Up Your Room

This holiday break is the perfect time to get away from the materialistic frenzy of the world and turn your room into a decluttered sanctuary.

6892
Pixar

Cleaning isn’t just for spring. In fact, I find school’s holiday break to be a very effective time for decluttering. You’re already being bombarded by the materialistically-infatuated frenzy of society’s version of Christmas, Hanukah, etc. It’s nice to get out of the claustrophobic avarice of the world and come home to a clean, fresh, and tidy room. While stacking up old books, CDs, and shoes may seem like no big deal, it can become a dangerous habit. The longer you hang onto something, whether it be for sentimental value or simply routine, it becomes much harder to let go of. Starting the process of decluttering can be the hardest part. To make it a little easier, get out three boxes and label them Donate, Storage, and Trash. I'm in the middle of the process right now, and while it is quite time consuming, it is also so relieving and calming to see how much you don't have to deal with anymore. Use these six questions below to help decide where an item gets sorted or if it obtains the value to stay out in your precious sanctuary from the world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments